Anti-gay pastor Martin Ssempa has told a Ugandan parliamentary committee that he does not agree with the death penalty for gays and lesbians.

The preacher told the committee that he supports controversial legislation for punishing homosexuality because it is “killing” society.

But he reportedly stopped short of praising the bill’s harshest clause – the death sentence for “aggravated” homosexuality.

The bill’s author, MP David Bahati, originally included the clause to state that the death penalty could be used in cases involving repeat offenders, minors, HIV-positive people or disabled people.

But he told AP news agency that this “was something we have moved away from”.

However, the bill still contains language to lengthen prison sentences for gay people and also calls for punishment for anyone who does not report homosexuality to police. This would include doctors, landlords, teachers and even friends and family members.

Mr Ssempa reportedly told the committee: “The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society.”

It is not clear whether MPs will get a chance to debate the bill before this session of parliament ends on Friday.

During the hearing, Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo said the bill would not stop homosexuality and would lead to more cases of HIV.

“How can we expect doctors to treat everyone when this bill will require them to report on their patients who are LGBT?” he said.